Abud-Waq, though classified as a major city, in terms of its population, is a city whose founding date predates the actual independence of Somalia by a mere year. This signifies that Abud-Waq, as a city, is the ‘youngest’ amongst the largest cities in Somalia.
It was founded in 1959 by two prominent Somali traders, Haji Farah Dabcasar and Farah Hirsi Adan-Jir. As the first sign of settlement, they transferred their business activities from their previous base in Geledi to Abud-Waq. As a result of this step, it triggered a mass-migration of people from the provincial capital Dhusa-Mareb to Abud-Waq.
As the years progressed by, the city grew both in size and prestige. That is not to say that it has not witnessed its fair share of trouble. The city, prior to the civil war, witnessed several border incursions from rebel movements and Ethiopia.
Nevertheless, Abud-Waq managed to be one the very few cities that managed to remain completely undisturbed from the disastrous effects of the civil war that was raging in certain parts of the country.
Since the inception of the civil war, many factions, ranging from SNF to ICU attempted to impose their rule onto the city, to no avail until a movement composed of local scholars took over the lawless city and established an effective and local administration.
After the Ahlu Sunnah movement pacified the city and dismantled the ‘green line’ which cut the city in several clan fiefdoms, rival clans were reconciled, and the former police force was put in to effect.
The city, neglected for the past 20 years, once again saw the potential to play a dynamic role in the region by focusing on all the aspects required for a city to develop.
Both the Diaspora and the actual inhabitants of Abud-Waq have played the blame game against one and other for years. The Abud-Waq Diaspora community justified their lack of response by accusing the residents of Abud-Waq of not being ready for development, whilst the residents of Abud-Waq equally blame the Diaspora for ignoring their pleas. However, all of this seems void now since both parties have no actual ground to rest their recycled argument. Presently, there is no insecurity.
Since peace and security are the main pre-requisites of the development of any city or region, it is thus critical that the Somali Diaspora hailing from this particular region to benefit from this imposed security and re-ignite their efforts to improve the overall quality of life of the region. NGOs should be re-invited and public infrastructure should be rehabilitated to facilitate the growing influx of the city’s population.
Furthermore, a Diaspora committee should be established. A committee that will periodically monitor the situation and will ultimately serve as the serving point between Western-based NGOs and the region.
Finally, Balanballe and Dhabad are two towns that are economically and socially connected to Abud-Waq. Once the city is revamped and the wheels of development are turning, it will automatically serve both these two towns and ultimately the greater region.